Take a ride in Leno’s first real sports car, a Jaguar XK120

When Jay Leno opens a video with “This is my first real sports car,” you can rest assured that what follows is a trip through the comedian and collector’s fascinating past. This particular episode focuses on Leno’s 1954 Jaguar XK120 and its glorious-sounding 3.8-liter inline-six.  

The XK120’s unmistakable shape got stuck in Leno’s head at the age of nine, when he spotted one in a garage while riding his bike when in his hometown of Andover, Massachusetts. Years later, in 1982, he purchased an XK120 of his own.

The white roadster (with white-over-red interior) is not strictly stock, although a passing glance might not indicate otherwise. Under the hood sits the straight-six, which for lack of a better comparison is Britain’s “small-block Chevy.” Upgrades include a trio of Weber carburetors, electronic ignition, and an oil cooler.  Leno estimates it has more than 200 horsepower.

Out on the road, the inline-six makes a soul-splitting sound. The noise alone explains why Jay often grabs the keys to this roadster instead of one of his newer cars when heads out for a drive. You never forget that first love.

What was your first sports car? Tell us in the Hagerty Forums below.

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